It’s January 31, 2021 and it would be fair to say the past 12 months have been a rollercoaster – not only because of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions and lockdowns.
I started 2020 beyond belief excited as I was working on the launch of a new business, which was going to publish a new business magazine in Peterborough, the nearest city to where I live in south Lincolnshire.
Our first edition was coming together swimmingly and went to press at the beginning of March, ready to be delivered direct to the desks of 5,000 businesses on March 24. What we didn’t know when we sent it to press that the country was going to go into full national lockdown the day before it hit those desks.
Over the next few months, we pivoted and expanded, taking the business magazine to an online edition only and launching a series of community magazines.
It was going well, but in my heart of hearts I wasn’t loving the business – adding the community magazines had detracted from what I wanted it to be and my heart just wasn’t in it.
As a result, the business came crashing down in November. It was a shock, and even though I hadn’t loved what we were doing, it had provided me with a certain level of security.
Now here I was, as the country was on the verge of a second lockdown, with no business and no source of income.
I’m sure many people who have found themselves in the same predicament will empathise with how truly terrifying the prospect is – especially as I am a single mum responsible for two girls and a mortgage!
For several weeks I went into panic mode, I cried lots and didn’t want to get out of bed, but eventually – with the help of family and some good business buddies, I saw this as an opportunity to regroup and rediscover my passion.
The failed business had taught me some valuable lessons about what I didn’t want – most particularly a business partner, fancy office and team of employees.
Now I just needed to figure out what I did want – what sets my heart alight.
And the truth is that it’s been lurking there for many years but I just haven’t had the courage to go for it. I’ve stuck to the slow lane, my comfort zone, with the magazines and marketing and not pushed myself to do what I’m really passionate about, which is serving other small business owners and helping them to grow and succeed.
So, finally, I am feeling the fear (yes, it’s still there!) and doing it anyway.
And so is born my new Business Bestie Mentoring, The Business Connection and The Learning Collection.
All three bring something different to the table but all aim to help small business owners be better and do better.
Next month, I’ll celebrate my 47th birthday. It will be seven years since I set up my first business and I have learned a lot along the way.
One of the most important lessons is that it’s never too late to be who you want to be and do what you want to do.
The second most important lesson is that you can’t do it all on your own.
We all need help with something or at some point in the journey.
And that’s now what I want to do – help. In any way I can, using everything I have learned up to this point.
I am most certainly not the finished article. I’ve not “made it” to the top (yet!) and there’s still loads more to learn.
It means we can travel this journey of growing our small businesses and achieving the success we want, together.